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Health Certificates For Travel

When preparing for travel, your schedule is sure to be packed, especially if you're planning on bringing a pet with you. At Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital, our veterinarians are able to help you get the Travel Health Certificate your dog or cat requires to join you on your journey. 

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Travel With Your Pet

Travel Health Certificates are documentation that your pet meets the health requirements of your travel destination for companion animals. These specifications depend on the place you are traveling to and whether that travel is domestic or international and can range from up-to-date boosters shots to microchipping. 

The USDA-APHIS office states that veterinarian-issued health certificates have to be completed within the exact time frame based on the state or country of destination's requirements.

It's important to remember that while some health certificates are valid for longer, the majority are only "good" for 10 days following their delivery. Often they also require that boosters and vaccinations be administered as early as 6 months before their travel date too. So when setting a date to schedule your appointment with us, ensure you are planning ahead.

USDA Pet Travel Website

Health Certificates, Capitola

Before Your Appointment

Please follow the list below when preparing for your cat or dog's health certificate appointment:

  • Review the requirements for pet travel to your destination

    The requirements can be found through the USDA Pet Travel website.

    It is your own responsibility to understand the requirements of the health certificate that your pet requires in order to travel with you. At Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital, we take responsibility to work with you to schedule your pet's required checkups, vaccinations and boosters when given enough notice by you, as well as to write out the certificate at the end of the process.

  • Contact your airlines

    It is your responsibility to inquire with the airline you will be using about whether they have any travel requirements, including specific vaccines or forms that require completion. 

  • Call the hospital to make an appointment.

    The actual appointment for writing up an international health certificate is 1 hour per pet. If you are traveling within the United States, appointments will be 30 minutes (excluding Hawaii, which is also an hour).

    Most health certificates we issue are valid for 10 days after we do so, and will take between 1 and 3 business days for endorsement by the USDA. Make sure you plan around these constraints when you are booking your travel and your appointment with us.

  • What to bring to the appointment
    • Your full name, current address, and phone number
    • The name of your travel destination (person, hotel, etc.), address, and phone number
    • The date your pet will be traveling, method of transportation, and port of entry
    • All previous records from other veterinary clinics
    • Many health certificates need an original signed rabies certificate and the exact date of microchip implantation. If these were not performed at Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital and are needed for your pet's travel, you have to bring these forms and dates with you to your pet's appointment.

During Your Appointment

In the lead-up to your pet's Travel Certification Appointment, you will need to ensure you have met all of the requirements for the state or country to which you are traveling. 

When bringing your pet to us for this appointment, we will conduct a comprehensive exam to certify and asses their overall health and well-being, as well as walk through their medical history to ensure that they meet all the criteria required of them for your trip.

For Californian pet owners, the completed health certificate can either be submitted by mail to the USDA office in Sacramento or by booking an in-person appointment at the USDA office in El Segundo. Processing time usually takes 1 - 3 business days.

When the certificate is finalized, you can either pick it up in person or it can be mailed to your address overnight.

Our Capitola veterinarians are here to help facilitate the pet travel process and to fill out the required forms. It is your responsibility to make sure all the travel requirements are met. 

It's imperative that you come to your appointment with us fully prepared!

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